Dracoola is an innovative IoT system that allows to manage building cooling thanks to advanced machine learning techniques. The goal is to reduce waste by maximizing energy efficiency, using as much as possible natural cooling modes. The system is composed of a network of actuators and sensors connected to a central unit that allows the storage and real-time processing of data.
Attention to thermal comfort and air quality is constantly growing, as is the spread of solutions to control these parameters. If the mechanical cooling market sees rapid and continuous development it is also due to climate change. These market drivers have a huge impact on the increase in the air conditioners market (estimated + € 8 billion in 2050; + € 20 billion in 2100 – Santamouris 2019) and relative electricity consumption. It is therefore evident that the possibility of supporting hybrid solutions capable of using natural forcings when favorable can reduce energy waste and improve the performance of buildings without renouncing to achieve high comfort conditions for the occupants. These solutions will be able to flank and support the growing market of air conditioners and punctual ventilation systems with recuperator.
Given the socio-economic development of modern society and the consequent and continuous growth of energy demand, studies on alternative technologies have become necessary which, in the face of a low energy-environmental impact, guarantee the same quality of life.
In particular, this technology is positioned in the context of smart sustainable buildings, where the main objective is to limit waste of energy, due to poor management of resources.
Thanks to its high scalability, this technology can be applied both on a small and large scale, starting from residential buildings up to airports, shopping centers and large buildings in general, where energy consumption is usually high and this technology would be particularly effective and fit. However, there is great flexibility, suitable for covering those market sectors (such as residences and small offices) where generally there are no cooling systems and mechanical ventilation systems are difficult to integrate.
Artificial intelligence guarantees the flexibility necessary for the system to adapt to each change and to make it specific to the type of building in which it is installed. Furthermore, DRACOOLA also allows you to update the algorithm with a continuous collection of data that increasingly improve its efficiency.
Current Technology Limitations
The biggest limitation of current technologies is represented by inefficient algorithms which, in most cases, are based on a simple threshold.
Another potential limitation of the most widespread technologies is that of aiming to obtain the desired comfort in the shortest possible time, without planning which is the most sustainable way to reach the comfort itself (mechanical, natural, hybrid forcing and their distribution over a dynamic time horizon).
The main applications of DRACOOLA are:
- Management of the cooling system of residential buildings;
- Support to point ventilation systems or small mechanical ventilation systems for residential buildings, small offices, school buildings where such technologies are starting to spread, but the control systems are less advanced due to the need to keep costs low;
- Management of the cooling system of large buildings (airports, shopping centers, offices, etc …).;
Our Technology and Solutions
Dracoola is an IoT system that allows you to control the cooling operations of a building in a fully automated way. The system consists of sensors, actuators and a control module based on artificial intelligence. The latter, thanks to the parameters collected in real-time by the sensors, is able to estimate, one hour in advance and with great reliability, the internal temperature of the building and to choose the most effective and sustainable solution, giving priority natural ventilation and ventilative cooling in general, in order to achieve the comfort requested by the user.
The production of DRACOOLA and its actual placing on the market require further investment and development. The project is currently in an embryonic phase in which the first characteristics have been defined (TRL2-3). The first tests have given highly satisfactory results, but new tests should be performed especially in the field, testing the integration of the system in different types of buildings and combined with different plant solutions (with different levels of complexity). Further developments are also needed to improve the interface and functionality of the web app and any mobile application, essential for ensuring correct user information / activation.